Jonathan Marshall on Sun, 20 May 2012 17:08:29 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Technology DRIVES Social and Personal Change (was Capitalism is FINISHED . . .)

Mark writes:


>> How could any economy be one thing, especially the digital economy?

>Fine question!

indeed, the argument of people like Rosa Luxemburg and Geoff Hodgson, was that capitalism needed all the other economies, (personal, gift, tribute etc) in order to survive. The problem is that it then converts all economies to Capitalist ones 

(which was of course Marx and Engels complaint in the manifesto - and used to be the complaint of conservative thinkers before they became 'taken in' by money and power)

So the issue, for me, anyway, is the conflict between different types of economy, and the undermining of capitalism that comes about by its undermining of these other economies.

How do things like trust become commodified, and then 'sell out'?

How does art compete with having to be for sale? when there is no other way to live?

How does free exchange of culture and ideas become inhibited to the extent that culture and ideas cannot prosper? or culture becomes corporatly owned?

>Because technology defines the *environment* in which we live -- so
>regardless of what "we" bring to the situation, the *ground* of our
>experience is the SAME!

I'm not sure here. which is why i'd still like to retain some idea of 'the real' and its resistance.

If tech defined our environment, then climate change would not matter.
decline in consumption would not matter
decline in wages might not matter
decline in equality might not matter.

We could all live in the virtual cocoon - in the environment provided by our tech and the comforting ideologies that the controllers of that tech provide.

Similarly, I'm still not sure that my experience is quite the same as everyone else's - and one way of finding that out is to participate in groups that do not experience/think the same as me.

This seems to be like Negri's hope that the multitude are one, and that they are communist.  Not, as far as i can see.  Many multitudes, even if only one 'empire' in the sense they use the term (which, again as far as i can see, has nothing to do with nation states, or the US empire etc, but a lot to do with unitended effects and the world escaping consequences of control. The term is unfortunate)

>ECONOMY means (etymologically) "how we manage our household" and  whether
>its Pretoria or Mumbai or Jakarta or Berlin, in crucial respects  we have all
>been living in the "same" house for quite awhile  now.

I'm inclined to think this is badly wrong. There are huge cultural, economic and structural differences all over the world.
I don't think many people in Pretoria are any where near as 'comfortable' as most people i know. Their experience is different: their households and their economy are different. Niether does the little i know ethnographically suggest that people all engage with tech in the same way

>Your question also reflects the enormous difficulties social science has
>had dealing with the effects of new technologies -- particularly  in
>economics but also in anthropology and sociology.  

Some of this is because its incredibly complex, and requires a massive understanding in cross cultural applications and effects of tech and uses of tech. 

>If you don't approach these problems from the standpoint of how TECHNOLOGY
>changes *us* 

and how societies change technologies.

>by CAUSING changes in our behaviors and attitudes (since it is
>the  "medium" in which we live, like yeast in a vat <g>) 

Again we live in many mediums i think

>-- which, in turn,
>*drives* the changes in our economies and societies -- then it seems to me
>that  you will have few CLUES about what is going on.

simple thing. The Chinese invented the printing press and moveable type. Did it have the same effect the Press is considered to have had in the West? no. 
why not? Many complex reasons, but a trivial response might be that basically the surrounding societies, structures, social roles, interests and demands where different. Not just that they did not have an alphabet. There were still massive numbers of literate people.

>The FUTURE has already arrived and we all live in it.  

The future never arives. The present is always here :)
But we can think we live somewhere we are not, like the future.

>Understanding  the
>*present* is always a very difficult task.  

Perhaps easier than understanding that which has not arrived... 

>Many opinions are expressed  on
>this list but rarely do they seem to take the opportunity to step back and
>provide a broad enough historic context.  Let's all see if we can "up" our
>game, okay?

So what are our myths about technology? do they still guide the way we look at tech?


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